- Marc, Franz
born Feb. 8, 1880, Munich, Ger.killed in action March 4, 1916, near Verdun, FranceGerman painter.His early works were academic, but exposure to Impressionism and Jugendstil lightened his style, and in 1911, with Vasily Kandinsky and other abstract painters, he became a founding member of the Blaue Reiter group. He believed that spiritual essence is best revealed through abstraction and was passionately interested in the art of "primitive" peoples, children, and the mentally ill. His own work consisted primarily of animal studies, since he believed nonhuman forms of life to be the most expressive manifestation of the vital force of nature.
* * *▪ German artistborn February 8, 1880, Munich, Germanydied March 4, 1916, near Verdun, FranceGerman painter and printmaker who is known for the intense mysticism of his paintings of animals. He was a founding member of Der Blaue Reiter (Blaue Reiter, Der) (“The Blue Rider”), an association of German Expressionist (Expressionism) artists.Marc's early works were painted in a naturalistic academic style, but after discovering French Impressionist (Impressionism) painting in 1903 he adopted a more modern approach, using simplified lines and vivid colours. During a trip to Paris in 1907 he encountered the work of the Post-Impressionist (Post-Impressionism) painter Vincent van Gogh (Gogh, Vincent van), whose vigorous, emotional brushwork profoundly influenced him. Van Gogh's effect on Marc's style is especially evident in Cats on a Red Cloth (1909–10).In 1910 Marc met the Russian-born painter Wassily Kandinsky (Kandinsky, Wassily), who was a member of a group of Expressionist artists known as the Neue Künstlervereinigung (“New Artists' Association”). Marc joined the group in 1911 and worked closely with another member, the young painter August Macke (Macke, August), whose idiosyncratic use of broad areas of rich colour led Marc to experiment with similar techniques.Marc and Kandinsky split from the Neue Künstlervereinigung in 1911, forming a rival group of artists named Der Blaue Reiter. Together they edited an almanac of the same name, which was published in 1912. Having long been interested in Eastern philosophies and religions, Marc responded enthusiastically to Kandinsky's notion that art should lay bare the spiritual essence of natural forms instead of copying their objective appearance. Kandinsky and Marc developed the idea that mystical energy is best revealed through abstraction. Marc believed that civilization destroys human awareness of the spiritual force of nature; consequently, he usually painted animals, and he was also passionately interested in the art of “primitive” peoples, children, and the mentally ill.Marc's philosophy can be seen in works such as Blue Horses (1911), in which the powerfully simplified and rounded outlines of the horses are echoed in the rhythms of the landscape background, uniting both animals and setting into a vigorous and harmonious organic whole. In this painting, as in his other mature works, Marc used a well-defined symbology of colour: blue, yellow, and red each stood for specific emotional qualities.In 1912 Marc's admiration for the works of the French painter Robert Delaunay (Delaunay, Robert) and for the Italian Futurist (Futurism)s made his art increasingly abstract. He began to use the faceted space and forms of Delaunay's brightly coloured Orphist (Orphism) compositions to express the brutal power and timorous fragility of various forms of animal life; an example is Tyrol (1914), a work that approaches abstraction. Marc joined the German army in 1914; he was killed in combat two years later.
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